The Dahshur pyramids make up an ancient royal necropolis, located approximately 40 kilometers south of Cairo – the pyramids were built from 2613 – 2589 BC. The Bent pyramid is the most famous of the pyramids in the area.
Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is home to countless tourist attractions and mind blowing sightseeing opportunities that can keep even the most energetic traveler busy for weeks on end. However, some of the very best Cairo attractions are not in the city itself, but rather, they’re a short distance away. A perfect example of this would be the Dahshur pyramids which attract thousands of visitors each year.
Dahshur – An Ancient Royal Necropolis
Dahshur is an ancient royal necropolis located roughly 40 kilometer (25 miles) from Cairo. Located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile River, the necropolis is home to some of Egypt’s best preserved pyramids, the Dahshur Pyramids. According to archeological studies, the oldest of the Dahshur pyramids was constructed in 2613 BC while the most recently built pyramid is believed to have been built 2589 BC.
Many historians often refer to the Dahshur pyramids as being “true” Egyptian pyramids, largely because of the fact that they are among the oldest pyramids in the country. In fact, the two oldest pyramids in the country are found at this necropolis. Another remarkable aspect of these pyramids is the variation in design from one pyramid to the next.
The Bent Pyramid Of Dahshur
The Bent Pyramid was built during the reign of pharaoh Sneferu and it clearly indicates a transition away from the traditional “step” pyramid design. It is also credited with being the first attempt at building a smooth sided pyramid. It is generally accepted that the smooth sides were intended to be a part of the design. The unusual shape of the pyramid on the other hand, is still the subject of much debate.
Some believe that the angled sides were part of the original design, while many historians and archaeologists alike believe that the builders of this pyramid realized that they were working at far too steep a pitch and quickly shifted to a gentler slope for the remainder of the building.
The Red Pyramid Of Dahshur
The Red Pyramid was the first “true” smooth-sided pyramid ever built. Like the Bent Pyramid, the Red Pyramid was also built during the reign of pharaoh Sneferu. Many historians actually believe that pharaoh Sneferu had the pyramid built to serve as his own final resting place, but this has never been proven, even though human remains were recovered from the pyramid.
Unlike many of the pyramids in Egypt, visitors are actually allowed to enter the chamber in which the human remains were discovered. The Red Pyramid is also one of the best preserved pyramids in all of Egypt, and certainly worth a visit during your stay in Cairo.
The Black Pyramid Of Dashur
The Black Pyramid remains a popular tourist attraction even though it is now severely damaged. Construction of the pyramid got underway during the reign of King Amenemhat IIl but unfortunately the pharaoh was forced to abandon his construction plans when the desert sands beneath were determined to be too unstable to support the weight of the enormous structure. Several small undisturbed tombs built for royal women, with many of them still containing collections of jewelery.
Pyramid of Sesostris III
The Pyramid of Sesostris III was originally part of a vast complex which was also home to several smaller pyramids believed to have been constructed for royal women, including the King’s daughters.
While the area was been excavated, archaeologists also uncovered vast cemeteries that served as the final resting ground for officials from both the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom. All in all, the Dashur pyramid complex is a fascinating place to visit, and its close proximity to Cairo make it an attraction not to be missed.
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Visiting the Dahshur Pyramids
Egypt is a land of splendor, and testimony to the world’s earliest civilization. It’s a place everyone should strive to visit at least once in their life.
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